From Saturday's San Francisco Chronicle:
View it here
No chance for normalcy after Prop. 8 loss
Now that the election is over, there's a refrain coming from those who
supported Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex
Well, they say, we're glad that's over. Now we can move on and get back to
everyday life. Hope there are no hard feelings.
It's a lovely sentiment and an optimistic thought. There is just one
problem. It isn't happening.
"There ARE hard feelings," said Lisa Geduldig, a San Francisco resident.
"If I voted against your social group having equal rights, you'd be sore
too. You might be lovely people, but you voted in favor of
This isn't like a disagreement between two co-workers about who should be
president or a debate about whether city funds should be set aside for
affordable-housing projects. This is a deep, visceral divide between two
cultures. And, with more protests scheduled this weekend in San Francisco
and in the state, it seems the anger and resentment will only increase.
Gay and lesbian couples who wanted to get married were deeply disappointed
and hurt by the outcome of the election. But now the Prop. 8 backers are
complaining that they are the wronged party.
"I think what infuriates me the most is that supporters of Prop. 8 could
now possibly be portraying themselves as victims after successfully taking
the rights away from other people," said San Francisco resident Paul
Holtz. "It's bizarre, paranoid, and silly for them to be claiming
suffering at this point."
Prop. 8 backers have been writing me to say they have been shocked at the
vehemence of the reaction to their "Yes on Prop. 8" yard signs and bumper
stickers. A woman, who asked to be identified as "Kathy in Pleasanton,"
because she fears retaliation, detailed a list of encounters.
"I've had eggs thrown at me, been accused of being a homophobe, and was
even tailgated home from the Oakland airport (all the way to Pleasanton)
by a man who cornered my car and screamed at me because of our 'Yes on 8'
bumper sticker," she said. "I'm a small woman, it was late at night, so
this was very frightening."
My guess is that they never expected that this would turn so personal. Out
in the suburbs, political signs in front yards are as common as autumn
leaves. If you don't agree with your neighbor, the sign is usually a good
reason to avoid that topic.
It is understandable that Prop. 8 supporters are upset about having eggs
thrown at them. That's just dumb. But they didn't just challenge their
neighbors' political views - they challenged them as people.
"They voted for hate, and that's what we are going to give them," said
Gary Young, a San Francisco resident.
Gino VanGundy sounds like someone that Kathy in Pleasanton could relate
to. She said she was concerned about her children as this debate heated
up, and VanGundy, a married gay man, has the same worries.
"This entire process has changed me," he said. "Is it because I'm a gay
man? Perhaps, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I am a
father - and a father first. As most of us are, I am fiercely protective
of my family, and I see this as a direct attack on my family and tens of
thousands of other families."
And compare VanGundy with Javier Peregrino, a staunch supporter of Prop.
8. His greatest worry, he says, is his family.
"This issue has hit my family and its beliefs at its core," Peregrino
said. "We believe that (opposition to) Prop. 8 was an attack on our sacred
way of family and life."
As far apart as those two fathers are, couldn't they find common ground
through their families? Couldn't they each speak to their need to protect
and defend their sons or daughters?
Kathy in Pleasanton has a story about a kindly gay uncle whose longtime
partner nursed him through a nasty bout with cancer. However, even after
that, she would never support her uncle's marriage. What she really hopes,
she says, is that "you will reconsider your feelings toward those of us
who support Proposition 8."
Instead, my guess is that many of the Prop. 8 supporters, like Pira
Tritasavit of San Francisco, are asking some difficult questions of
"As a Christian," he said, "should I feel apologetic for voting my
conscience? Should I feel proud over a victory? Should this be 'rubbed in
their faces?' Is this a done deal now? I don't think so. The passing of
legislation can never change human hearts."
To which VanGundy replies: "Bitterness, name calling and finger pointing
will do nothing to help. Ignorance is our enemy - not people."
But Prop. 8 supporters need to understand the basic truth. They can't have
it both ways. They won a bitter, unpleasant and divisive battle. It's
unrealistic now to expect those who lost their rights will understand and
respect the Prop. 8 point of view.
So Kathy in Pleasanton, who views her uncle as a second class citizen, hopes we will all "will reconsider your feelings toward those of us who support Proposition 8."
Yeah, right. We'll get back to you on that one.